Mapusa Traffic police inspector, Mr Salim Sheikh, has called upon children and citizens at large to be vigilant in their surrounding and if they notice any suspicious activity or a suspicious person, then to call the police on 100 and be sure that they would receive prompt police action.
At an awareness programme held at the Siolim-Marna panchayat by the Panchayat Child Committee, on the topic, ‘Are our children safe’ various speakers delved on the aspect of security of children in schools and on roads.
Mr Salim Sheikh who was one of the speakers said that after the Delhi incident and in Goa after the Vasco incident, various aspects of safety of school children were being looked into. He said that as a traffic PI, he would suggest to children and public at large to move only in familiar route buses and avoid travelling in unfamiliar buses. He also called upon people to dial 100 so as to get prompt police action. "Our Police Control Room or PCR is functioning 24-hour so any call can be made at any time and from anywhere in Goa and be sure that you will receive police help within maximum 7 minutes as our system at once starts getting activated once a call is received on 100," he informed. He felt that a lot can be achieved if people are vigilant.
Mr Salim also pointed that the drivers of the Bal Rath buses were very much under the purview of action of traffic police and the police were free to fine them or initiate action against them if they were found drunk. He therefore appealed to the school heads to keep an eye on their Bal Rath drivers. He also gave various suggestions to children when crossing roads and stressed that village roads in Goa were not meant for speeds above 40 kmph and one should stick to this limit to ensure safety of driver as well as pedestrians. Various suggestions made by citizens were also noted down by Mr Salim. Anjuna PI, Mr Vishwesh Karpe, pointed that several times people keeping tenants or tourists for hire were not informing the police and urged the house owners to inform the police about such people so that their activities can be kept under check. Legal expert, Ms Shanti Fonseca, who said that she is a school manager and is involved in school affairs for the last 22 years, differed with the argument that schools were unsafe. She said that today there was shortcoming in proper parenting and also children were easily getting attracted to strangers which requires remedial action. She regretted that the Vasco incident had destroyed the freedom and other such good activities of children and had put pressure on parents to bring and take their children on time. She was also critical of the government’s approach towards Bal Rath drivers who were not paid by the education department for months and as a result the finances of schools were burdened. "Unfortunately the government, though has provided Bal Rath buses, is not too keen to pay the drivers." she informed.
Dr Nishita Desai, director of CRG, spoke on the different abuses that effect the children – such as verbal and sexual abuse and said that there is a need to provide extra curricular activities for children in order to help them have more of physical activities rather than allowing them to pass their time on internet and watching TV.
Ms Joanne Rebello member of Goa state commission for Childs Right spoke on the need to have better parenting while former magistrate and former Mumbai police officer, Mr Edward Rodricks, spoke on importance of parents being good friends to their children. He adviced parents to give some time to our children, and also stressed on the importance of community policing, CCTVs, etc. He also said that security and self defence styles can be taught, but the most effective self defence is to know that ‘Strange is Danger’ so learn to scream and shout for help when you suspect the person and avoid lonely roads, etc.
Earlier the gathering was welcome by the chairperson, Mr Gregory D’Souza, in the presence of Siolim-Marna deputy sarpanch, Ms Poonam Shirodkar, panch, Mr Digambar Agarwadekar and Mr Vignesh Chodancar, while Ms Clare D’Souza proposed the vote of thanks. The programme was compered by student Merlin Fernandes. [NT]